The Story of Leisha, The Twice Lucky Rescue Dog
By Tess Stinson
First Printing: The Performer, June/July 1999
The Official Publication of the American Belgian Malinois Club
This is a story about a rescue dog that was twice lucky. Having had a number of rescue dogs in my foster care for the past year or so, I got a call and after a few e-mails, I learned of a little Malinois girl who had been dumped from the bed of a pickup truck taped up in a cardboard box in Atlanta.
With my hackles up, I awaited the ID by a marvelous Terv Rescue volunteer, Karen Purdue. The call came and off I went to meet "Boxie" as the shelter workers dubbed her. One look at her and I fell for the sweet gentle dog and could not imagine how anyone could harbor such cruelty within. She certainly deserved better than this. First off, we had to get her a classier name ---- Boxie was now changed to Leisha, a name more befitting a noble Malinois. And then on to the basics. Leisha rapidly became friends with all creatures, big and small, at her new foster home. She showed proper deference and finally learned to play with my rough big Beau, a Dutch Shepherd and the smaller, yet feistier Malinois Greta. Leisha mostly ignored the resident cat and kitten with little more than a glance at their intrusion. This girl had certainly been mistreated at some level, yet she was overwhelmingly in love with almost everyone she met.
A foster family was found with a single mom and a 2 year old daughter who promptly fell in love with Leisha. So in December, Leisha went home as their Christmas present. All seemed another love story at the beginning. Unfortunately, this match did not have a fairy tale ending. Yet again, Leisha was going to be given up. It seems that Leisha had forgotten her housetraining in her newly adopted home. In spite of their numerous retraining methods, nothing seemed to work. Leisha was returned to her foster home --- to Greta, Beau and me. We took her in again and though I was saddened deeply by this setback, she was welcomed with open arms (and paws). So the search was on again --- this time with a bit of an additional problem --- housetraining. I began just as you would with an 8 week old puppy and started with the crate training all from the beginning, making sure she had ample opportunity to be outside, exercise and a strict regimen of "let's go outside and hurry up". Begrudgingly, I had to admit that the training was only partially successful. I worried more about how I'd ever find this girl a perfect home.
I needn't have worried though - thanks to the listing on Belg-L, more potential families began contacting me about Leisha. As I began talking with some of them, one family stood out immediately. Despite my warning them about her "little problem", Leisah found a second chance with a great family in Toledo who have a resident Terv and a black cat just like the one in her foster family. I just felt in my heart that this was "THE" right home for Leisha. As the family returned from an Easter vacation in Florida, I took Leisha to the Atlanta Airport to meet her new family. Once again, it appeared to be love at first sight and Leisha was flying to her new home in Toledo. And I was feeling cautiously hopeful about her second new home.
From Leisha's new mom: Leisha is doing so well. She is relaxing into her new family quite well. She is definitely the TOP DOG around here. She has Rex whipped into shape- no more housetraining accidents for him. Not permitted. She taught him to bark at the door when he needs to go out. And she keeps him in line at the food bowl, too.
She is doing wonderfully. She trained to the invisible fence so quickly and the two of them now spend a good chunk of their time out playing in the yard. They are so fast! Rolling, romping tackling each other. Its truly hilarious. They work together to keep our daughter in the yard.
Rex was neutered this past week so things have been quiet and different for her. She refused to eat when Rex went to the vet and wandered around the house whining the whole time. Things are back to normal now.
She now sleeps UNDER the bed and is better house-trustworthy than Rex! We are slowly introducing her to toys and games.
Leisha and I have worked hard on getting her used to being in the car. We go everywhere together (as long as the trip doesn't entail leaving her in the car alone). She is doing so well. Now, both Rex and Leisha expect to go with us as I back the car out of the garage with them still in the yard. They line up to jump into the back of the SUV and try to be the first one in. Funny.
There have been no incidents with the cats. She chased one her first week but it was more curiosity than anything else. Other than that, she's a truly super dog.
Thank you so much for everything. We can't believe how lucky we are to have found her.
Carol (and Leisha - at my feet, snoring)